Kenya Airways Brand: For some Ugandans the Kenyan carrier is a "pariah" airline

Kenya's national carrier Kenya Airways and one of the most successful airlines in Africa is now a 'Pariah' airline amongst some Ugandans. Supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye have been deeply critical of the airline following a decision by KQ management to block the opposition leader from a boarding a flight after the airline received some 'intelligence' that the Ugandan authorities would not allowed the flight to land at the Entebbe International Airport if he was on board.

Kenya Airways therefore took a decision in the interest of the majority of passengers and barred Dr. Besigye from the flight.This has created an outrage amongst his supporters who have used KQ Facebook profile to lambast the airline. Instead of venting their anger on the real cause of their woes, whom I guess must be an eccentric 'dictator' called Sevo, they have chosen the airline as their object of hate. Most of the comments are obviously out of sheer ignorance of how the aviation industry works and admittedly, they made me wince.

You can sample some of the comments here on Kenya Airways Facebook page. I don't think many of the negative comments are worth republishing on this blog.

Elsewhere, reflecting on the same issue, the EastAfrican stated that KQ, as one of the leading carriers on the continent is no stranger to controversy : After all, Kenya’s national carrier is among the elite in the global airline industry that have managed to carve out a very lucrative niche by offering to take people from around the world to the most dangerous places on earth in Africa, generating on average $309 from every passenger it carries.

I remember some time back in 2009 when Kenya Airways CEO Dr Titus Naikuni was forced to travel to Lagos on a charm offensive after several Nigerian passengers complained bitterly of being treated unfairly or rudely by KQ crew. "We better fly Ethiopian or Emirates!!",the Nigerians would say. The airline even instituted measures of hiring West African stewards who understood the West African culture much better than the East African stewards who are probably more used to the less confrontational and more laid back East African passengers.

But what the nitwits making lots of noises on social media last week didn't know(not  a fault of theirs), was that this issue was beyond KQ's control.  KQ had to act in the best interest of all passengers who had booked the flight and ensure that they arrived safely in Entebbe with little inconveniences and also make sure it does not run into a collision with a government that has provided with generous landing rights.There was a time when KQ had a virtual monopoly on the Entebbe-Nairobi route. Airlines always comply with government directives because this one of the most regulated industries in the world!

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